If you’re a qualified learning disability nurse or a student RNLD nurse, this article is for you. We look at some of the nursing career options for RNLDs and the types of work you could be doing. About Matt Farrah - follow me on Google+

A Learning Disability Nurse, or RNLD for short, can be employed in any area of the health and social care sector, and there are some fantastic job opportunities on offer for learning disability nurses to develop their skills and work with all kinds of different people. One of an RNLD’s key skills is their ability to communicate with everyone from other healthcare professionals to the client themselves. Trust and understanding are essential in the relationship between nurse and client and an RNLD’s ability to communicate with the client in way that they understand while still maintaining their dignity is key.

Health promotion, rehabilitation, working for independent and fulfilling lives for the clients in your care are the underlying responsibilities in many learning disability nursing jobs. Below are just some of the job titles listed recently on for RNLDs, both experienced and newly qualified.

Learning Disability Nurse RNLD Job Opportunities

Care Home Manager / Residential Manager

There are care homes, residential homes and supported living facilities throughout the UK that offer a holistic and person-centred approach to supporting for people with learning disabilities, many of whom require qualified RNLDs to take on the manager role. Care homes and residential homes can be of any size from very small only accommodating a few individuals, up to a large establishment that offers a variety of services.

The level of care required by an individual is completely unique, and in order to ensure the appropriate level of support if offer in the correct way, a detail care plan is devised in conjunction with the service user and their family. As the Manager of the facility you will be involved in creating care plans and scheduling staff to carry out that care. Your job as Care Manager will always be focussed on the needs of the clients, but you must also balance that with running the business side of the organisation. This involves managing suppliers, recruiting staff, ensuring policies are adhered to and reviewed when necessary, and also ensuring profitability.

You will need a management qualification, such as the Level 5 Diploma in Leadership in Health and Social Care, in order to progress to this level in your career. You can expect a starting salary of around £30,000 per year and upwards plus benefits for a small size care home.

Staff Nurse - Community

There are a variety of community nursing positions for learning disability nurses. For example, a recent job posting on is for an RNLD to join a new service that will support women who have mild learning disabilities, challenging behaviour, or personality disorders in the transition from hospital or residential care back into the community and into a life of their choice.

There are not for profit organisations, local authorities and healthcare trusts that all employ RNLD Nurses in the community, in both outreach and residential settings. Residential settings range in the services they provide from supported living to full nursing care. In a supported living environment you will be working with a client who has mild learning disabilities of some form but still wants to lead an active lifestyle. You will work with them to promote their health and wellbeing in these activities and ensure their person-centered care plan is appropriate for their needs.

Staff Nurse - Secure Environment

There are different levels of secure environments, and many have specific aims and work towards specific outcomes for individuals who often have a combination of learning disabilities and mental illness. Not everyone admitted to a secure environment has been sectioned, some people who manage their illness proactively can recognise when they need the additional assistance and treatment available in hospital.

As an RNLD working in a secure environment you will be delivering nursing care according to the personalised care plan, as well as liaising with the other health professionals involved with that individual. You will be focused on the client you’re working with ensuring they receive the care they require in a way that is protects their dignity and will facilitate their integration back into the community when they are ready to be discharged.

Staff Nurse - Rehabilitation

There are often vacancies for RNLDs in rehabilitation because clients that require this kind of care can present with challenging behaviour, learning disabilities and complex nursing care needs. The Mental Health Act (1983) and the subsequent 2007 amendment of the act state that after a person has been sectioned and treated, on the approval of their doctor, mental health professional, nearest relative or tribunal, they can be discharged but only once a care plan has been put in place. A learning disabilities nurse can work with an individual to devise this plan and then liaise with other health professionals that need to be involved in the delivery of this plan.

Rehabilitation may also be required by someone that has an acquired brain injury and as a result has altered abilities, memories and behaviour. The expertise of a learning disability nurse is essential for someone living with a recently acquired learning disability, and an RNLD can not only help the adjustment process but also help to develop new skills with the individual.

Clinical / Nursing Team Leader

In a clinical setting you will be part of the team of LD nurses who provide specialist nursing care and health promotion services to people with learning disabilities. Most commonly employed by the local NHS trust, a learning disabilities nurse will also act as a liaison between the clients they are involved with and other healthcare professionals such as GPs and Social Workers.

If you’re interested in developing your clinical skills as an RNLD, you could consider becoming a Forensic or Prison Nurse. You will work with offenders to understand their situation as well as providing evidence and reports to the authorities from a clinical nursing perspective. Nurses from all branches are able to become forensic nurses, each bringing their own specialist knowledge of the branch of nursing they’ve gained their skills in. As an RNLD you will have a unique understanding of a range of learning disabilities and the effects those disabilities can have on an individual’s wellbeing, health and actions. You will be able to advocate strongly for patients in your care as well as be involved in health promotion plans and the delivery of care.

Follow this link for more clinical nurse jobs.

Social Worker

For those learning disability nurses who studied the joint learning disabilities nursing and social work degree course, you will be able to register with both the NMC and the GSCC. You will have the choice of working as an RNLD nurse or a social worker, and this choice opens up a much wider range of job possibilities for you. You could work with adults or children & families in a range of different functions.

A recent job listing that would ideally suit a jointly qualified RNLD and Social Worker was for a Day Centre Manager focussed on delivery person centred care to service users with learning disabilities. The centre provides a range of physical and social activities for people with learning disabilities, and as centre manager you would be responsible for planning those activities and ensuring staff have the correct training to deliver them safely, effectively and in a way that is appropriate for the needs of the individuals.

Social Worker jobs are posted on our sister site, Follow this link to view all current social worker jobs.

Follow this link to view all current RNLD Jobs.